INDIANAPOLIS – An initiative authored by State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend) to toughen penalties against child molesters passed the Indiana Senate unanimously Tuesday.

“While no change in the criminal law can make amends for heinous crime inflicted upon Cameron, we can only hope that these tougher penalties will protect other children in the state of Indiana,” Sen. Broden said.

The bill was drafted after a constituent of Broden’s approached the senator. The constituent’s grandson, identified only as Cameron, had been molested as a child and as a result of the assault, contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Legislation initiated by Sen. Broden would enhance the penalty from a Level 3 to Level 2 felony for child molestation that results in the victim contracting a “dangerous sexually transmitted disease (STD).” Senate Bill (SB) 363 defines those STDs as: the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); herpes; gonorrhea; syphilis; chlamydia or hepatitis. A Level 2 Felony carries a sentence of between 10 and 30 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The penalty rises to a Level 1 Felony if the perpetrator knew they were infected with a dangerous sexually transmitted disease.

The bill now moves to Indiana House of Representatives for consideration.

Sen. Broden represents Senate District 10, which includes the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, and portions of Portage, Penn, Centre and Clay townships in St. Joseph County. For more information on Sen. Broden, visit